Vol. 3 – Issue 1
Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of May
The 2nd. Anniversary Issue
Ah, the lusty month of May! Spring has taken hold. Seedlings are bursting upward. Thoughts turn to the great outdoors and spending more time with loved ones as the daylight blossoms with fertility and promise.
This is our Second Anniversary issue! Hard to believe that we have been sharing our writing with you, our dear readers for 2 years. We began this creative adventure using the fertile energy of May to quicken what we desired as a presence within our community and opportunity to gift the beauty of our paths, experiences and unique perspectives. Hopefully, we have done that and that you all have found some rest and inspiration in each month’s offerings. Onward into Year Three and more surprises….
The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful;
the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding,
the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before
the brightness of the summer.
– Lady Gregory –
Spring Is Finally Here!
Spring is in full bloom on the east coast of the United States. Time to celebrate Beltane, a holiday that lets us reflect and connect with the Spirits of Nature. The temperatures are warming and we are beginning to come outside to spend quality time. At Beltane we typically think of fertility for our gardens to produce a bountiful harvest in the Fall. But actually it’s a perfect time for renewing our spirits, appreciating the Earth and the importance of the cycle of life.
Take a walk outside and feel the damp black soil under foot, feel the connection with the Earth’s energy rising from its mantle below and traveling upwards. Let it flow through your body and out of the crown charka spilling out and back down to the Earth. After the cold winter the Spirits of Nature are reawakening too.
Find a place for quiet mediation, with the trees, flowers, waters, mountains, whatever is near your residence. Pick an object to focuson, a rock, flower, tree or water source. Allow your senses to awaken and explore the object’s surface, texture, and temperature. Feel yourself actually inside the object, take note of the flow of energy as it moves through you. As you end the mediation be sure to offer up thanks to the object for sharing this experience.
Enjoy this time of year, fully experience all the colors, smells, and sounds around us and show respect and honor for the Earth and all she gives to us. Remember to breathe and feel the flow of the universal energy around us each and every day.
“Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson –
I have been thinking about polarities lately. I came across something that asserted that it is better to give than receive and I found that I had a visceral reaction: no, it is not better! So I spend some time thinking on this topic and here are some of my thoughts on giving/receiving and other polarities this brings to my mind.
It is better to give than receive, or so it says in the Christian Bible (Acts 20:35). According to this approach, we ought to give (of ourselves, or our time, or some material goods) so that we would be blessed. In other words, earning our Brownie points and so that we may ultimately end up in Heaven. That is why we do good, isn’t it, for the final outcome?
I question this premise. To me, the idea that it is better to give than receive negates both the giver (as if the gift were given only to earn blessings), and the receiver (who is there only to make the giver feel good about himself). This is an unequal power dynamic in this scenario, as if the receiver were an empty and passive vessel awaiting the gifts the giver feels like giving, to the larger benefit of the giver: after all, an eternal reward outweighs the momentary delight of the present being given, right?
Some use these attributes as equivalent: passive, receptive, accepting: Female
And these: active, offering, giving: Male
It is the act of offering and giving that is bestows blessings in this ancient saying. I say that the act of receiving is also a source of blessings. To be passive and receptive is to be open, accepting, and willing to take what is offered: this is trust and to me, this is of at least an equal value to giving.
Sweat lodge: Dark; interior / Full moon healing ritual: light, exposed.
I have experienced sweat lodges in three different locations. My first sweat lodge was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in a small town in western Michigan. It was held by a Native American woman; it was, as far as I know, a traditional Native sweat lodge. It was some 25 years ago. What I remember was that the fire was lit, the stones were heated, we chanted, then the hot stones were brought into the lodge and then we entered with the water pourer. After we all entered, the fire tender came in with us. And we stayed in the lodge until we (and the ceremony) was finished. One could say what one wanted to, when one wanted to. It was crowded and hot and revealing and dark and sweaty and dirty. And I was hooked. I loved every minute of it. I loved being stripped raw of clothing, inhibitions, uncertainty, the idea that my precious wounds and worries were mine alone. I felt a commonality with those who endured the lodge with me: we were willing to work hard to let go of pain. I emerged, changed, tired, relieved, and ready to accept that I, too, have courage.
The next sweat lodge I attended was some 20 years later. It was at Seelie Court and it was run by water pourers and fire tenders who had been trained in traditional sweat lodge protocol and adapted with Wiccan protocols developed by people within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. These sweats are not officially part of the ASW. I have been attending Sweat Lodge at Seelie Court for about 8 years, either sweating inside the lodge during the ceremony, or helping the fire tenders and water pourers with various tasks, such as fetching kindling, fire wood, water, washing towels, whatever needed to be done to assist.
I have also participated in sweat lodge at Free Spirit Gathering, and free-wheeling gathering of people walking all kinds of paths, such as wiccans, heathens, druids, pagans, vodouisants, santeras, polytheists, monotheists, pantheists, atheists, etc., according to their web site. This sweat lodge took place on a hot day in June. The Seelie Court sweat lodges are typically held during the winter months. It was more of a physical challenge than I liked: it was not possible to cool off adequately after the sweat.
The interior of sweat lodges is dark; at the ones held at Seelie Court, attempts are made so that not a crack in the covering lets in outside light. The only light is from the glow of the hot stones centered in the fire pit. It is the light within the dark. It is not physically possible to see the other participants who are sharing that day’s sweat lodge with you. Before we enter the Lodge, we had seen the fire being laid, built up, ignited, and tended. We had blessed the stones and put then into the fire to heat up. We had seen the fire blaze up, but we enter into the darkness when we enter the sweat lodge.
It is in darkness that we chant to the elements, hear the words of the water pourer, and then begin the rounds of sharing, each of which is blessed by an element: air, fire, water, earth, spirit. We ask for help in turn for letting go of what no longer serves us, and how to gain that which we need in the next step in our individual journeys. We pass the talking stone between us; when one holds the stone, that person speaks and the others are silent. When one is finished speaking, they pass the talking stone to the next person in the circle. Sometimes it is hard to find the hand of the next person: you have to reach out and find them in the darkness. Someone it there, reaching out to you, and the connection is made. The stone is passed and then the next person speaks.
After each round at the Seelie Court sweats, the blanket that covers the entrance is lifted so that fresh air can come in, the water gourd is refilled, and more hot stones can be brought in to refill the center stone pit. And we can see light for a few moments. Then the blanket is pulled down and the entrance is closed, and we are together in the dark.
The sweat lodge experience is for me, one of going inward. Diving deep into myself: no one can see me cry or look anxious. It is possible to forget who is in lodge with me since all I have to identify them is the sound of their voice and their spiritual energy, which is being transformed moment by moment by participating in the Sweat Lodge. Sometimes I forget where I am in terms of place and time: I am in the dark, surrendering to trust, the elements, the ancient ones: the stones who give their lives in service to the sweat lodge; the water pourer, the fire tenders, and Spirit. All I have to do is be present in the moment, open myself up, and let in, accept, receive the healing. This vulnerability brings me to power. My Self, all of my selves, are stepping into personal power through this stripping down into rawness. This passivity, receptivity, openness, are my power. I am reborn, each time I enter and emerge from the Sweat Lodge, the cauldron of rebirth.
I attended my first full moon healing ritual in March 2018. This ritual was presented by Grail of the Birch Moon, a coven within the ASW. This ritual was held on the night when a full moon rose in the sky. The altars were decorated with cloths recognizing the elements and candles were lit. A cauldron rested on the center altar. It contained darkness within the light of the ritual. The intent was to help each of us to lift ourselves and each other to the moon’s healing light. I witnessed some people go before me, to expose their desire for healing, to be willing to be assisted in that healing, to be lifted to the light of the full Moon in her glory.
When it was my turn, I gathered up my courage, and stated that I wanted healing with being able to move from being a victim to being present, and not even being a survivor, but to be able to be here, now, and be myself fully. I exposed a vulnerability in that I admitted that I was a survivor of some trauma, that I felt trapped in that past identity, and that I wanted to move forward into a state of Being, simply Being, and I asked for help. The community that was gathered together chanted, sent healing energy to me, and lifted me up to the full Moon’s light. I felt transformed: later that week, I signed up to return to my college campus for my 40-year reunion, the first I will have attended, since I avoided the campus since I experienced an assault there when I was there as an undergraduate student. As a sister in my Coven reminded me, I stepped into my power by doing this.
For me, being receptive and open brought me to a place of personal empowerment. It was good, too, to be giving in participating in sharing energy with the others who were asking for healing. And it has been good for me to go inward, into the darkness of the Sweat Lodge, and outward, into the light of the Moon. Active, passive. Giving, receiving. Light, darkness. Polarities are not opposites, they are points on a balance beam that pivots on a fulcrum. Each is necessary to the other, neither can exist without the other. It is not better to give than to receive: it is better to bring both into one’s life. This is a power dynamic, and a powerful one. So mote it be.
“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe –
An Invitation to the Divine
Come walk with me and
Share my grand adventure
Our steps will mark the way
For those who wish to follow.
Come sit with me and quench
Your thirst with the beauty of
What surrounds us.
Come dance with me on the
Shores of crystal blue waters
The sun looking down in
Benevolence as we embrace
Beneath the warming rays.
Come lay beside me as
Time and dreamscape
Claim their hold.
Come sleep with me and
Let Divine ecstasy unfold
Dream in the knowledge of me.
Come lay beside me and tell
Me of your dreams that
Stretched long into the night.
Come walk with me as we
Talk of what was revealed.
The land gives way and
Miles of space lay ahead
Beckoning new turns with
Each new dreamtime path.
Come explore with me the
Truth of your journey and
The gift of mystery in this life.
Come walk with me and
Share my grand adventure
Our Light will mark the way
For those who wish to follow.
Lost and Forgotten
An inspiration from a class experiential in February 2018….
You come to me in my dreams, mysterious and silent.
Newly born from the stars, yet with ancient origins.
With pride you stand before me, in all your splendor.
“See me!”, you command. Yet no words do you utter.
It would do no good to address me directly, for the language you spoke has fallen into obscurity.
Words would be wasted breath.
Yet I hear you.
You tell me stories of a different time, when rulers bowed down before you and common folk asked for you blessings! When odes to your benevolence were written and monuments were built for your glory! When your followers sang your praises and your foes trembled in fear!
In this age you are all but forgotten, a footnote in history. Faded into obscurity.
And yet a spark of you remains, twinkling in the inky blackness of nothing. Waiting for the breath of a living mortal to flame you back into existence. Waiting to return to your former glory, even if only in the heart of one who is devoted!
You wait in the darkness, searching for the soul that will remember you from lives past. Seeking the twinkle of recognition of your divinity. Looking for your disciple come again.
Perhaps I am the one.
You come to me in my dreams and I answer, “I will remember! And I will honor you!”
The spark grows brighter and you light my way, even as I light yours.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
– Albert Camus –
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick
Welcome to May. This month we will take a look at Beltane and how it relates to the Moon this month. Beltane is a cross-quarter celebration in that occurs at the mid-point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. This year, Beltane falls on May 5.
The Earth and Moon are in constant communication. Since humanity has been able to bring back samples of the Moon’s surface, we know that the Earth and Moon share a geological make-up. The Moon is comprised of elements that are the same as those in the Earth’s crust. They dance together through the cosmos. The gravity of the Earth keeps the Moon in orbit; the gravity of the Moon causes high and low tides in the Earth’s oceans. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SciJinks, the moon’s gravitational pull generates something called the tidal force. The tidal force causes Earth—and its water—to bulge out on the side closest to the moon and the side farthest from the moon. These bulges of water are high tides. As the Earth rotates, the bulges move around it, one always facing the moon, the other directly opposite.
This dance and communication is particularly resonant with this year’s Beltane, during which the Moon will be about 75% illuminated. If you are able to, go outside on this Beltane night, and look for the Moon. Perhaps shining on the ocean, or another body of water? Bring with you someone you love, or commune with nature, or with yourself. Beltane is a time to celebrate sexual union, fertility, dancing around the May Pole, jumping the Beltane fire to signify passion; it is a time when the Goddess takes a God as her lover and through which all life will be renewed. According to the poet Edward Lear, the owl and the pussycat understood this:
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
The Owl and the Pussycat
Take advantage of this Moon-lit Beltane since it will then begin to be waning towards its new Moon phase on May 16. At Beltane, the Moon will be in Capricorn, which is a cardinal earth sign and known to be cautious, pragmatic, and grounded with ambitions in starting new initiatives with a lot of planning. Let this push-pull between Beltane’s fiery passions and Capricorn’s sensible style be like the pull of the Moon’s gravity on the Earth’s tides: let yourself be pulled up and out and spring toward the burgeoning life force surrounding us all right now yet remain bounded to gravity so that you don’t get pulled off course.
Another way to celebrate the Moon’s light during Beltane is to bring it down to earth by lighting a candle:
Find a candle that is red for passion. Set up a table with your candle, a mirror, some flowers. Be your own God/Goddess and re-ignite passion for/within yourself. Gaze into your own eyes in the mirror and be open to what ever messages come to you. Put down the mirror, strike a match, and light the candle. Your own energy brings light to your world through the symbol of your lit candle. Take up the flower and remember that it came from a seed or a bulb, gestated in the earth for a time, then emerged with the sun’s warmth and spring rains to bloom in its season. Let this be a season for blooming for you and for all you love. Blow out the candle, place the flower in water, and go out and enjoy this beautiful Beltane celebration.
“Do something wonderful.
People may imitate it.”
– Albert Schweitzer –
Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “
Yoga has many fundamental principles, poses and parts. One of significance are the mudras or hand gestures. Mudras are quite popular and used to channel your body’s elements and energy flow. The Sankalpa mudra is one of my favorites! The etymology of Sankalpa comes from 2 Sanskrit words, SAN and KALPA; the first, denoting a connection with truth and the latter, a vow (or intention). However, Kalpa is deeper than a promise or pledge. Sankalpa represents your heart’s yearning and its highest intent; its a resolution of your soul.
Of course, there are many philosophies that touch upon the power of intent; thousands of blogs, videos, and correspondences expressing the importance of plans, thoughts, prayers, and intentions. I feel perhaps equally important is where our intentions come from and how they resonate. I admit it is a hard part of my journey; deciphering what is my own truth vs. learned behavior and beliefs.
Outside influences seems to permeate everything. Are our intentions just other people’s ideas? Do we want something because of advertising or the media? Are our desires based on pleasing our parents or teachers? Are we following society’s expectations instead of seeking our true nature?
A yoga practice can help you delve into these queries. A practice that includes meditation can expose your beliefs and patterns, and help you tune into your psyche. After your practice, once in a relaxed state; you can then listen in for an intention. Decide on a statement that reverberates with your highest self. Use it as a mantra, an affirmation to incorporate within the Sankalpa Mudra. You may already have an intention that has come to you organically. Try to keep is short and align it with the highest universal good.
To get into a position to begin working with the Mudra, start with a comfortable seat with an open, straight posture. Both hands can be at your sides, palms facing up, with elbows bent. Consciously bring the left hand across your chest so that your intention aligns with your heart before placing your hand on your right thigh with your palm up. Turn the palm of your right hand down so that it hovers over the left and clasps over your declaration, sealing in your sacred vow. You may then start to chant the Sankalpa affirmation. You can speak it aloud and envision it’s positive energy. It should be something you feel, that uplifted and radiates.
I love how simply this mudra is and it can be done anywhere. Once established, your yoga practice can also begin with this mudra. It can be utilized at any time you need to refocus and check back in with your true nature’s resolve….NAMASTE…M.Q.
First Steps on the Seeker’s Path
This month’s article is Part Four of a series of posts about the practice of meditation and contemplative integration at all levels of being. Last month I discussed the use of meditation through the seasons. This month, I’ve been called to share a special meditation for you to use in connecting with Deity.
Part Four: Magickal Meditation
A Simple Meditation with Deity
Excerpted from A Year and a Day on the Wiccan Path
This month’s focus is on simply opening to connect with Deity. If you have a specific Deity you wish to connect with or already have connection to, focus your intent on simply “being” with this Divine energy. For this meditation we will not be asking for guidance or any specific request. The intent is to sit quietly and open to whatever Deity wishes to present us with.
Select a space where you will not be disturbed and is as quiet as possible. Sit comfortably and begin to take notice of your breathing. Listen deeply to the sounds as you inhale and exhale and even the rustle of clothing as belly and chest expand. Take note of the sensation of the air filling your lungs and the sense of fullness than emptying that occurs as you inhale and exhale. Now, take notice of the smells that come into your nose as you breath a little deeper still, and the release of that aroma as you exhale it back out. Continue this pattern of sensorial awareness for several minutes.
Now, allow your breathing to be secondary in focus and shift your awareness to the space between your brows, the seat of your inner screen. Draw all of your attention into this space and envision a small point of white light at the center of your awareness. As you gently breathe and bring more attention to this space of visioning, the point expands and soon there is nothing but a brilliance of white light filling this inner space. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale see your physical form stepping into and through this brilliance of light and find yourself standing on a mossy rock surround partially surrounded by water. You look out at the glory of a beautiful sunset and lower yourself to a sitting position on the edge of the large stone. You breathe deeply and as you exhale you feel an opening of your perception and a peace and calmness that is profound in its presence.
As you sit in the stillness of this landscape you offer up the invitation to commune with the Divine. You offer up the willingness to listen deeply to what may be given and to allow yourself to simply be held in the space of Deity’s presence. You breathe deeply and as you exhale you allow your mind to be still of thoughts, your heart to be welcoming and sit “waiting”.
As you quietly sit, allow yourself to sink as deeply as you wish into this cradling of stillness, unhurried and patient for response. When you feel complete, offer up gratitude for the experience that you had (even if you feel “nothing happened”). Offer up gratitude to yourself for being able to reach this space of stillness and presence.
You gently rise to a standing position and see that the sun has set and moonlight shimmers on dark moving waters. Take a moment to take this image into your being and the beauty of the quiet. As you continue to look out across the waters and breathe into this experience the landscape gently fades and you find that your awareness has returned to being that of the observer; your focus on your inner screen. Breathe deeply into this awareness and shift in perception and the comfort this space provides.
Gently allow your awareness to return to that of filling the space of your entire being and the physicality of your body and breath. Turn your focus back to the rhythm of your breath and the gentle rise and fall of your chest and expansion and contraction of your belly. Breathe fully and deeply allowing this energy to reawaken all of the physical sensations of being fully present in the space in which you began this meditation. And, when you are ready, gently open your eyes, returning to the here and now.
Note: Do not be discouraged if you feel that Deity did not respond. ONE of the goals of this practice is communing with deity, but an equally important goal is that of preparing the way so that you are fully present and listening to the message. Communing takes many forms and it is not always the clear-cut epiphany moment that occurs.
We are constantly in communication with the Divine, but rarely are still enough nor open enough to receive what is being communicated. Engaging a stranger in a reciprocal smile is communing with the Divine. Having the perfect parking space open and available after a trying commute is communing with the Divine. Having a pleasant day at work and the opportunity to relax when you get home is communing with the Divine.
Bring this level of awareness into your contemplative practice with full intent and after not such a long time, you will recognize Deity in all of his/her forms as you sit in the silence of their wisdom. More importantly, this level of awareness will spill over into your everyday experiences making magick of the mundane.
Check out my Summer Weekend in the Parks post on The Enchanted Gate Blog. Surrounded by all that beauty, I could feel the blessings of the Divine as my husband and I became the Divine Couple…
Summer Weekend in the Parks
Next Month: Sensorial Meditation:Engaging the Senses
“In the marvellous month of May when all the buds were bursting, then in my heart did love arise. In the marvellous month of May when all the birds were singing, then did I reveal to her my yearning and longing.”
– Heinrich Heine –
Upcoming Events – 2018
Continuing through May 15
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Two
Egyptian Alchemy: Opening the Way
8-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…
Celebration of Beltane with Archers of the Sacred Flames,ASW and Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW
Celebrate the union of God and Goddess, jump the balefires and dance the Maypole of Divine creation. For more information. Click here…
Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.
Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnists: L. B., Tesseract and India Amour, Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW
All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted
For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:
Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW or email: firstname.lastname@example.org